PATENT means the title granted to protect an Invention. An invention may be a product or process, and in any field of technology.



Patent protection is granted for a period generally 20 years from the filling date of the application.



The owner of a patent has the exclusive right to exploit the patented invention and to authorise another person to exploit the invention. The owner also has the right to assign or transfer the patent; and to enter into licensing contracts. Overall a  patent owner has the right to decide who may – or may not – use the patented invention for the period in which the invention is protected. In other words, patent protection means that the invention cannot be commercially made, used, distributed, imported, or sold by others without the patent owner's consent.


An invention must in general, fulfill the following conditions to be protected by a patent. It must be new and does not form part of the state of the art. The invention must show an inventive step that could not be deduced by a person with the average knowledge of the technical field and the invention is capable of industrial application.


A person infringes a patent if, while the patent is in force, the person does any of the following things in Vanuatu in relation to the invention protected by the patent without the consent or authority of the owner:

  • if the invention is a product – the person makes, disposes of, offers to dispose of, uses or imports the product, or keeps it (whether for disposal or otherwise); or
  • if the invention is a process – the person uses the process, or offers it for use in Vanuatu, when the person knows, or it is obvious to a reasonable person in the circumstances, that its use without the consent of the owner would be an infringement of the patent; or
  • if the invention is a process – the person disposes of, offers to dispose of, uses or imports a product obtained directly through the process, or keeps a product of that kind, whether for disposal or otherwise.